If persons who carelessly and thoughtlessly throw away what they consider useless to themselves, understood the intrinsic value of these discarded trifles or this unpleasant rubbish, we are certain some little trouble would be taken to preserve and direct them to their real use. We will, from tlio thousand and one of theso unconsidcred trifles, select but one —bones—as a text for a few words in regard to their waste ; and we will not refer even to their use in the arts as. material for manufacture into various forms of us:; and beauty in which, they reappear on ourp?rsonsantl in our dwellings, but confine our remarks to the value of bones us a fertilizing- agent. Let us see, first, of what bones are composed. Take ox bones, which comprise the larger part of household bone waste. Berzelius gives the following as the constituents of the dry bones: Phosphate of lime with a little fluoride of calcium wjtt Bone gelatin............... ........... -t..,;: Carbonate of lime...........'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'............................ ' -, Fhosplmte of magnesia....... ........................... ' .(?- Soda and commonsalt.....................'..'.'.'.7.7.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.".'.'.' ??& 100-00 Every intelligent farmer knows that these are just the elements for combining with inorganic matter to make a fertile soil. It is, however, maintained by some that the nitrogen —contained in the gelatin—is not beneficial as a fertilizing element, from the fact that calcined bones deprived of their nitrogen, are still very valuable as a manure. But we believe that the nitrogenous element is really a valuable ingredient in fertilizers, for nitrate of soda, NaO, NOS is known to be a valuable fertilizer, and where found in natural beds as on the west coast of South America, it is exported for agricultural use as well as for the manufacture of nitric acid. The necessary amount of soda to form this combination exists in bones, and as the oxygen of the atmosphere readily combines with it, the objections against it as being unfit for fertilization do not seem to be tenable. Prof. Johnston (thaii whom no better authority can be quoted) says that one hundred pounds of dry bone-dust add to the soil as much organic animal matter as three hundred or four hundred pounds of blood or flesh, and also, at the same time, two-thirds of their weight of inorganic matter—lime, magnesia, common salt, soda, phosphoric acid—all of which should be present in a fertile soil. From this it will be seen that even if the usefulness of bones was limited to their application to the soil, their value is sufficient to induce care in their saving and preparation. The superphosphate of lime so favorably known to our farmers is simply bones treated with one-third their weight of sulphuric acid and an equal quantity of water. The farmers of England understand the value of bones. Beside those gathered in their own country, they import them from the pampas of South America, the feeding and slaughtering grounds of millions of semi-wild cattle, and prepare them for their soil.
This article was originally published with the title "The Wickedness of Waste.—Value of Bones"